“Where in the Sam Hill do you think you've been?” Bird drawled.
Cary blinked up at his foster-father, the stars in the sky above a stark relief to the man's florid, veined face. His head ached fiercely and colors swam across his eyes as he tried to form a response. Instead his mind raced ahead of himself, drumming up an anger he had seldom before felt. It focused on Bird and kept building. It ran alongside an image of the tablet he had read at Clearing's house and quite suddenly Cary was suffused with strength unlike anything he had ever known. His fists balled up and he leapt to his feet in a flash. Before Bird could react Cary had drawn an arm back and fired off a blistering punch in Bird's direction.
The blow didn't land. At the last moment, Bird fell backwards to the ground, so drunk he could no longer stand. The force behind Cary's blow sent him twirling to the ground with a muffled thump against the grass of Lurlene Darxis' lawn.
“What is GOING ON out here?” said an angry, familiar voice. Seconds later Cary saw Lurlene herself trot down from her front door to stand over himself and Bird, her arms akimbo and her expression withering, even in the darkness her pale white skin was luminous, electric-blue almost.
“S'nothing, Lurl. Just seein' the boy,” Bird belched, “'ome.”
Lurlene growled something under her breath and reached a hand down to help Cary up. Her grip was pinched stone, and Cary remembered how strong she had been in the hallway back at school days before. But now, her strength no longer eclipsed his own. At the very least, her grip on his hand did not hurt him, though he could definitely gauge the raw strength behind it. He stared open-mouthed at their clasped hands until Lurlene snatched hers away with more under-her-breath growling.
“See that you get the sot inside, Carver.” Lurlene said and turned away. As she walked up her driveway, Cary was startled to see her turn around and study him briefly before she made it back inside.
He was distracted by Bird's piteous moaning. “Urghh.” Bird said, “C'mon kid, help me up...Dunno why you gotta be so damned difficult...”
Cary sighed and warily moved over to help Bird to his feet. Bird grumbled and gurgled but did not make any threatening movements towards Cary. Maybe he had exhausted his rage in his brief time on the ground. Beyond that, Cary was desperate to get somewhere alone. After everything he had just experienced he needed to be alone and process it all. Otherwise he might just go a bit nuts.
Bird made his way, swaying, to his truck and got in. It always amazed Cary how well the man could drive even when he could barely walk or see. Thankfully, the driveway was only yards away and Bird made the short drive to it with drunk expertise. Cary watched the man scramble out of the cab and go inside, seemingly having forgotten Cary. He followed.
Not surprisingly, Lana was nowhere to be seen, her door locked fast. He could hear Bird elsewhere in the house, singing something, miserably off-key. Cary sighed and went to the guest bedroom, shut the door. Ordinarily he would not do this, as it frequently made Bird and/or Lana overly suspicious, eventually causing them to berate or punish him. But just then he found he really didn't care much, especially as Lana was not home. Bird would likely pass out in front of the television before much longer anyway.
The door closed, Cary flopped onto the bed and stared at the ceiling, his arms tucked behind his head, his knees up. Text on webpages didn't flash from strange symbols to words before your eyes. And there was the last thing he had read before hearing the noise of Clearing returning. The words flashed behind his eyes, somehow clear in his mind.
“Just wish for what you want to happen Icarus Hadwell and it will be so. The supersymmetry of the Fifth Dimension awaits your desire. Whatever you can imagine, the Book of Fates will see it becomes reality.”
Those had been the words which had nearly made him fall off the little box he had been standing on, the words which seared themselves into his mind at the moment Clearing had come inside the house, though he had only microseconds to see them. Cary remembered exactly what he had thought when those words touched his eyes. It had been two things actually.
The first was:
I want to get away from here without getting caught by Clearing.
And that had happened.
The toilet tank had been cleared, the window open and a fifty gallon drum perfectly placed outside under the window. As if his wish had come true. Cary blinked up at the ceiling, annoyed at the direction his thoughts. He was being silly and he knew it. I'm not Harry Potter. I can't do magic. I don't get wishes.
But what about the other thing?
The second thought he had had when he had read the passage on Pottermore on Clearing's tablet was, inexplicably:
I wish I were the strongest boy in the world.
Cary wasn't sure in retrospect how or why such a thought had come up beyond all others. Thinking about it now, he realized he would rather have any number of things more than being the strongest boy in the world.
Being friends with Jonathan again
Smarter than Carise Edgecombe
My own computer with Internet so I could see Pottermore whenever I want
The ability to do magic like Harry Potter
Never have to pick up a drunk Bird again off the floor
Watch Lana die in a fire, or watch her lose all her hair and get grossly fat.
Cary snickered at the last.
A loud crash came from the other side of the door and Cary jumped up and peeked out of the room.
Bird, face down on the floor, snoring, had crashed into the coffee table. Looking down at Bird, Cary wished Pottermore could actually grant wishes.
I'd call it the Book of Fates! And I'd write a story about it.
I would wish Bird could never again find alcohol, and I'd laugh at his sadness over it!
Cary grunted in dark amusement at Bird never being able to drink again, no matter how much the man wanted it. He went back to the guest bedroom, left Bird where he was, in a heap of splinters and wooden shards. A huge yawn broke up his face. He glanced over at the clock and saw it was past one in the morning, almost two. Yawning again, Cary got back on the bed and lay still, night-dreaming about wishes he wanted to come true, until he fell fast asleep.